Disco Elysium Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Disco Elysium RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Disco Elysium: The Final Cut Review — Return to Revachol https://www.gameskinny.com/h4d5u/disco-elysium-the-final-cut-review-return-to-revachol https://www.gameskinny.com/h4d5u/disco-elysium-the-final-cut-review-return-to-revachol Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:33:54 -0400 Dylan Webb

Disco Elysium took us by surprise when it launched in 2019. Once a PC exclusive, this text-heavy isometric RPG took us to the streets of Revachol, the former capital of the world divided under foreign occupation.

Developed by ZA/UM, we gave that version a 10/10 for "its interesting, entertaining, and hilarious game world with fully realized factions and characters, unique art style, and overall mood," and much more. 

Now Disco Elysium is back with The Final Cut, an expanded edition on the PS4, PS5, Stadia, and PC (where players can claim it as a free upgrade).

The Final Cut marks the first time Disco Elysium’s come to consoles, with Switch and Xbox editions arriving later this summer. It makes for a fantastic improvement on the base game, offering some significant upgrades that add to the narrative, only let down by a few performance issues on PS5.

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut Review — Return to Revachol

If you played Disco Elysium before, you know what to expect here, as The Final Cut retains the same gameplay and story as the original. If you aren’t familiar with the game, it's a straightforward premise. Seven days ago, a body was found hanging from a tree behind a hotel in Revachol’s Martinaise district, and the main character's been sent to investigate.

Problem is, this detective is a serious alcoholic, and after a wild night of drinking, he wakes up an amnesiac in a completely trashed hotel room. Fighting with his own consciousness to get up, he slowly discovers he's a cop, though he's misplaced key items like his gun and badge. Joined by Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi, it’s down to this pair to discover what happened.

Before diving in, players must choose what kind of detective they'd like to be, either working from one of three preset character sheets or creating their own from scratch. This all helps form what the game calls the detective’s “ancient reptilian brain."

Character sheets are divided into four pillars  Intellect, Psyche, Physique, and Motorics  letting you allocate points towards each, all of which contain special skills. For example, if you’d rather play a Sherlock-Holmes-type detective, Intellect is a must, which offers skills like “Encyclopaedia” that provides a better idea of the world around you.

Should you prefer the tough guy approach, Physique is your way forward, offering skills that augment endurance, your pain threshold, or your ability to intimidate witnesses (since there is no "real" combat in Disco Elysium). 

As you investigate, successful actions are determined by a dice roll. Depending on your build (and luck), how you allocated points determines success probability, though failed rolls don’t prevent the story from continuing.

So what’s changed in The Final Cut, and how does it impact the experience? 

Voice acting is by far the largest update. Nearly 300 characters across Revachol are now fully voiced, which is a massive undertaking when you consider the script to contain around 1.2 million words. That includes a standout performance by Jazz musician Lenval Brown, who voices the detective’s innermost thoughts and brings a pleasantly authoritative voice that adds gravity to your decisions.  

If you prefer the original non-VO style, that option remains available, but this addition adds immense personality to an already wonderful cast. As a result, The Final Cut has a greater narrative impact than the original; an impressive achievement, considering it is arguably Disco Elysium's strongest aspect.

The Final Cut’s other significant addition is the inclusion of the previously-scrapped “political vision” quests tied to four prevailing (and wildly conflicting) political ideologies: Communism, Fascism, Moralism, and Ultraliberalism. As you play, you'll gradually develop a political alignment, letting you internalize the main character's political standing. It's a system that offers more insight into an already nihilistic, war-ravaged world.

And though these political vision quests don’t have any major impacts on the story, they offer a satisfying resolution to these ideological themes, giving a sense of closure to certain aspects of the game that was previously lacking.  

Elsewhere, The Final Cut’s additions aren’t as significant but provide several quality-of-life updates, including the inclusion of 4K. PC players now have controller support, several new animations and characters are included, new dialogue choices have been added, extra languages are now supported, and two new songs by British Sea Power appear.

Sadly, the PS5 version has several technical issues I encountered during this review, which weren’t fixed in Patch 1.1. Interactions feel a bit clunky, and the game doesn’t always recognize when you’ve selected an object to investigate or a person to talk to. There are also infrequent framerate drops, and sometimes, items just didn’t load.

Patch 1.2 promises to fix these issues, and though they're relatively minor, they did impact the overall experience. 

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Still the same superb RPG from 2019, just with extra bells and whistles
  • Fantastic voice acting
  • Beautiful visual style
  • Highly replayable

Cons

  • Minor technical problems on consoles
  • Doesn’t expand too much upon the original

Regardless of what route you take or which rolls you fail, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is an utterly compelling RPG worth looking into, either again or for this first time. The lack of combat might seem strange, but it never feels worse for the omission, channeling the same energy as Planescape: Torment.

What lies within is a dark, politically driven, and utterly hilarious story, one that never punishes you for failure. By offering The Final Cut as a free upgrade for PC players, too, anyone who previously visited Revachol has nothing to lose by making a second trip, and this is a game that actively encourages replayability.

Though I'm (currently) let down by a few minor issues on consoles, Disco Elysium is just as essential in 2021 as it was in 2019. I’m pleased to see it finally reaching a wider audience, and it comes strongly recommended.

[Note: ZA/UM provided the copy of Disco Elysium: The Final Cut used for this review.]

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Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is Heading to PC, Consoles on March 30 https://www.gameskinny.com/upjnc/disco-elysium-the-final-cut-is-heading-to-pc-consoles-on-march-30 https://www.gameskinny.com/upjnc/disco-elysium-the-final-cut-is-heading-to-pc-consoles-on-march-30 Thu, 10 Dec 2020 22:41:37 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Developer ZA/UM announced Disco Elysium — The Final Cut during The Game Awards 2020 and have now confirmed it will be coming to PC via Steam, GoG, and EGS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, and the App Store on March 30. It will then launch on Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch sometime this summer.

Final Cut is the definitive edition of Disco Elysium, with new quests and 1 million fully voice-acted lines. The base game follows a detective in their attempt to unravel their past after waking up with a killer hangover and no memory. Final Cut goes further, exploring the detective's political ambitions, letting players turn back time, rebuild their party, or just get rich fast.

The game earned praise when it first released in 2019 for letting players shape nearly every aspect of their experience by focusing on the protagonist's specific stats.

In our review of the game, Ty Arthur said: 

Disco Elysium is RPG of the year. Hell, maybe even the decade. I can't think of any other RPG in recent memory that managed to provoke the same level of awe and desire to keep playing.

The Final Cut features full voice acting for every character and new quests that let players shape the world even further than the base game.

It will feature 4K, 60fps on PlayStation 5 (other consoles weren't mentioned in the press release we received), and most importantly, it will be a free upgrade to those that already own the game. Otherwise, it will retail for $39.99. 

A collector's edition of Disco Elysium: The Final Cut will be available sometime in 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch. It will retail for $249.99 and include an "innovative 'Layers of the Id' premium box" and be "region free." Here's what's inside: 

  • Hand-painted ‘Mind Totem’ vinyl sculpture
  • 190+ page hardbound art book feat. oodles of previously unreleased art and stories
  • Illustrated fabric map of the District of Martinaise
  • Physical edition of Disco Elysium with reversible cover, housed in an elegant slipcase

Finally, two limited-edition Disco Elysium vinyls are currently up for pre order on iam8bit's website. Both are three LP sets, one coming with a standard jacket and another, limited to 2,000 copies, with "an origami design that unfolds to reveal a larger illustration." You can find both here

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Guerrilla Collective Brings Three Days of Game Reveals https://www.gameskinny.com/xlnwe/guerrilla-collective-brings-three-days-of-game-reveals https://www.gameskinny.com/xlnwe/guerrilla-collective-brings-three-days-of-game-reveals Mon, 11 May 2020 12:39:54 -0400 Josh Broadwell

We're seeing a number of new video game showcases popping up in the wake of E3 2020's cancellation, and Guerrilla Collective is the latest of the bunch. It's a three-day-long digital showcase featuring a number of independent developers and publishers brought together thanks to Kinda Funny Games and The MIX (Media Indie Exchange).

Guerilla Exchange kicks off June 6 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST with an introduction from Kinda Funny's Greg Miller, followed by:

  • Paradox Insider (11:30 a.m. PST/2:30 p.m. EST)
  • The PC Gaming Show (12 p.m. PST/3 p.m. EST)
  • The Future Games Show (2:30 p.m. PST/5:30 p.m. EST)

All these showcases will air on Twitch and Steam.

June 7 will feature an online press event, and the last day of Guerrilla Collective, June 8, is focused on gameplay demos and developer interviews.

Guerrilla Collective is working with a number of developers, including Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin 2, Baldur's Gate 3), ZA/UM (Disco Elysium), Paradox (Cities: Skylines) and Good Shepherd Entertainment (John Wick Hex), among many, many others. ID@Xbox, the indie arm of Xbox, is also one of the event's sponsors.

You can sign up for more info on the Guerrilla Collective website, but the lineup information comes from Gematsu. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for what comes out of Guerrilla Collective, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more video game news as it develops.

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1,500+ Games Discounted During Good Old Games' Lunar New Year Sale https://www.gameskinny.com/em6wr/1500-games-discounted-during-good-old-games-lunar-new-year-sale https://www.gameskinny.com/em6wr/1500-games-discounted-during-good-old-games-lunar-new-year-sale Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:01:08 -0500 GS_Staff

Joining the likes of Steam, Fanatical, and Ubisoft, Good Old Games is holding its own sale to celebrate the Lunar New Year. From January 24 to January 31, more than 1,500 games and game bundles are on sale, some upwards of 90% off. 

Though the name might suggest these discounts are relegated to the ephemeral "old" games available on the platform, GoG has actually been selling newer games for a while now.

As such, highlighted deals include those on Disco Elysium, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Everspace, Greedfall, Vampyr, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Children of Morta, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Although it doesn't look like there are many, if any, deals on upcoming games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2, GoG has helpfully separated its sales by genre and the cleverly useful "only the highest discounts" category. 

Here are some of the best deals we saw while readying our wallets for the inevitable mass exodus of money. 

 

Game Regular Price Sale Price
2064: Read Only Memories $19.99 $3.99
Abzu $19.99 $9.99
Age of Wonders 3 $29.99 $7.49
Age of Wonders: Planetfall $49.99 $33.49
Alan Wake $14.99 $2.99
Ape Out $14.99 $7.49
Atom RPG $14.99  $11.99
Baldur's Gate Enhanced $9.99 $4.99
Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced $19.99 $9.99
Banner Saga $24.99 $7.49
Banner Saga 2 $24.99 $9.99
Banner Saga 3 $24.99 $14.99
Battletech $39.99 $13.59
Bioshock Remastered $19.99 $4.99
Bioshock 2 Remastered $19.99 $4.99
Bioshock Infinite Complete $54.99 $18.14
BIT.TRIP Runner 2 $14.99 $7.49
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night $39.99 $25.99
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger $14.99 $5.99
Children of Morta $21.99      $15.39
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 $12.99 $3.24
Cossacks 3 $19.99 $7.99
Cuphead $19.99 $14.99
Daikatana $6.99 $0.97
Darkest Dungeon $24.99 $7.49
Darkwood $14.99 $5.99
Dead Cells $24.99   $17.49
Death's Gambit $19.99 $9.99
Doom 2 + Final Doom $9.99 $2.99
Doom 3 BFG $19.99 $5.99 
Dragon Age Origins Ultimate $19.99 $4.99
Dying Light $59.99   $17.99
Enter the Gungeon $9.99  $5.99
Everspace $29.99 $4.49
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark $29.99 $14.99
Figment $19.99  $6.79
Firewatch $19.99 $4.99
Frostpunk $29.99 $11.99
Greedfall $49.99 $37.49
Grim Dawn $24.99 $4.99
Gris $16.99 $8.49
Headlander $19.99  $5.99
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice $29.99 $10.19
Hollow Knight $14.99 $7.49
Hotline Miami $9.99 $2.49
Katana Zero $14.99 $9.69
Kingdom Come: Deliverance $29.99 $14.99
Layers of Fear $19.99 $3.99
Layers of Fear 2 $29.99 $14.99
Mafia 3 $39.99  $7.99
Metro 2033: Redux $19.99 $4.99
Metro Last Light: Redux $19.99  $4.99
Mutant Year Zero $34.99 $17.49
Nex Machina $19.99 $9.99
Outlast $19.99 $3.99
Outlast 2 $29.99 $7.49
Pillars of Eternity Definitive $39.99 $19.99
Prison Architect $29.99  $7.49
Rime $29.99  $5.99
Ruiner $19.99  $9.99
Shadow Warrior $39.99 $9.99
Shadow Warrior 2 $39.99  $9.99
Shadowrun Returns $14.99 $3.74
Shovel Knight: King of Cards $9.99 $7.19
Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope $14.99 $10.79
Slime Rancher $19.99 $7.99
Spec Ops: The Line $29.99  $5.99
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Ultimate Sith Ed. 
$19.99  $6.99
Stories Untold $9.99 $2.49
Superhot $24.99  $9.99
Surviving Mars $29.99 $10.19
Tangledeep $14.99  $5.99
The Saboteur $19.99 $4.99
The Signal From Tova $19.99 $4.99
The Surge $19.99  $6.79
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt $39.99  $11.99
Thronebreaker: the Witcher Tales $29.99 $14.99
Titan Souls $14.99 $3.79
Vampyr $49.99 $16.99
Wasteland 2 Director's Cut $44.99  $17.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Complete $49.99  $9.99

 

That's only a small fraction of the games currently on sale during Good Old Game's Lunar New Year sale. Currently, there are dozens of DLC and expansion packs also available.

On top of that, legitimately good old games, such as those in the Warcraft, Caesar, Sim City, and King's Bounty series, are available at steep discounts. You can see everything that's on sale over at GoG.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more sales and discounts. And be sure to head over to Steam, Fanatical, and Ubisoft to see what's on sale for those storefronts and if it's cheaper than what's available here. 

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Disco Elysium Adds Punishing Hardcore Mode, Ultrawide Support https://www.gameskinny.com/dndyd/disco-elysium-adds-punishing-hardcore-mode-ultrawide-support https://www.gameskinny.com/dndyd/disco-elysium-adds-punishing-hardcore-mode-ultrawide-support Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:40:16 -0500 Ty Arthur

The text-heavy RPG sleeper hit of 2019 is back with a brand new  and much harder  game mode. Disco Elysium just saw a major update featuring ultrawide support and a hardcore option for those who just didn't fail enough skill checks the first time around.

This new level of punishing difficulty forces players to plan out their Thought Cabinet path more carefully, use drugs more extensively, and be nice to a certain mailbox for healing. Here's what's changed in the hardcore option:

  • Increased difficulty on all skill checks
  • Less money to be found, and less money given for selling at the pawn shop
  • Increased pharmaceutical prices
  • Decreased pharmaceutical effectiveness
  • Gain extra XP when finishing tasks

The Disco Elysium developers had this to say about adding even more insanity to your poor hungover detective's very bad day:

Hardcore Mode isn't for everyone. But if you've loved this strange story in this forgotten city, it's a way to experience it from a new perspective a Martinaise perspective.

For those of us here at ZA/UM, who've already spent hundreds of hours playing, this new mode been a wonderful chance to revisit the game in a fresh way. Good luck, detective.

Have you played through Disco Elysium's normal difficulty level yet? Let us know what you thought of this bizarre existential RPG and then be sure to check out the trailer for hardcore mode!

In our official review of the game, we said, "Comparisons to Planescape: Torment (minus the combat) are an obvious starting point. But frankly, Disco Elysium is somehow even weirder. It really plays with the whole "updated my journal" mechanic in ways even Torment didn't think to, creating a consistently surprising and humorous experience."

Disco Elysium is out now on PC. It is slated to release on PS4 and Xbox One sometime in 2020. Keep it tuned to GameSkinny for more on Disco Elysium as it breaks. 

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This Was the Best Decade in Gaming History, and I Can Prove It https://www.gameskinny.com/w33ve/this-was-the-best-decade-in-gaming-history-and-i-can-prove-it https://www.gameskinny.com/w33ve/this-was-the-best-decade-in-gaming-history-and-i-can-prove-it Sun, 29 Dec 2019 14:27:56 -0500 Ty Arthur

The decade is coming to a close, and while there was controversy — and a few franchises flopped  the last 10 years provided some of the best moments in the history of gaming.

If you lived through the 2010s, you witnessed new, powerful console launches, new developers knocking it out of the park, and new, exciting tech releases from the ill-fated Kinect to the still burgeoning VR field.

All of that and more led to an unforgettable 10 years in gaming that rivaled much of what came before. Don't believe me? Let's take a look back at the industry's defining achievements over the past 10 years.  

The Early 2010s

Certain moments will live forever. Lady Gaga's meat outfit. Rebecca Black's Friday. Kony 2012. The color of that stupid dress. Marriage equality. "But her emails." Leo finally getting that damn Oscar. 

For me, the decade began in earnest when I put GLaDOS into a potato in Portal 2. The combination of humor and disturbing horror sold it as much as the game's top-notch voice acting and rock solid gameplay. That overall package had me sitting in awe, thinking: "Did modern video games just become amazing right this second?" 

Aside from the hilarious legacy of Portal's sequel (which itself will never be a follow-up since Valve sadly can't count to three), the 2010s kicked off in earnest with notable returns from major series featuring big changes. Mass Effect 2 ditched the extraneous RPG elements and somehow came out better for it; Dead Space 2 ramped up the horror and gore of the first game; and, of course, Starcraft 2: Wings Of Liberty arrived with a makeover and revamped multiplayer.

The early 2010s proudly brought the gaming universe a re-tooled horde mode in Gears of War 3, and it's one that stood the test of time. Aside from still holding the title of "one of the least toxic cooperative multiplayer modes" ever made, horde in Gears of War 3 remains the gold standard of multiplayer. Horde is one of the primary reasons why fans return to the Gears series even after the IP switched developers.

While those big-name AAA franchises made their marks, Minecraft became a phenomenon. Mojang's smash hit created an enduring legacy that can't be denied, even if the survival/open-world LEGO mashup has been endlessly emulated. Somehow the pop phenomenon still has hundreds of millions of active players, showing Mojang's vision wasn't just a fluke. 

Between an insane number of skins, seeds, maps, and mods, Minecraft has to be one of the most expansive gaming experiences of all time, and it will probably still be up and running long after we are all dead and gone. As we move into the next decade, we're preparing for Minecraft Dungeons, which could possibly be a game we'll still be talking about in 10 years. Who knows?

      OK, maybe it wouldn't have been the worst
thing if we didn't know about this guy...

Another low-key title that had a bigger impact than many realize — though not Minecraft big — came in the horror genre. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent kicked off the "defenseless" horror subgenre that has seen the likes of Outlast, Layers of Fear, and Alien: Isolation follow in its footsteps. Although the Amnesia series is now quaint when compared to what came after it, it brought the horror genre to the masses. Why? Because big-name streamers loved it.

Reaction videos to Amnesia's scarier scenes caught on like wildfire, and it's partly to thank for the sudden spike in video game streaming personalities in the early part of the decade. Without Amnesia, it's possible that the likes of PewDiePie and Markiplier might remain relatively unknown.

       It is an absolute tragedy that this didn't catch on.

Despite all of the unexpected successes, there were some "sure things" that ended up nosediving in the early part of the decade. Nintendo — normally a pillar of stability — saw the Wii U ultimately flop, even though the hardware itself had some fantastic applications.

If you haven't experienced Rayman Legends local multiplayer using both the Wii U pad and your television screen, then you missed out on a critical piece of amazing gaming history.

While the Wii U has been consigned to the dust bin, other parts of the early 2010 gaming landscape caught on like wildfire and still haven't gone out.

Though I point blank hated Skyrim, credit must be given where it's due. Bethesda captured the imagination of a generation with that particular Elder Scrolls entry, and Skyrim managed to remain popular enough to see re-release some dozen or so times across multiple consoles throughout the decade.

Without question, Skyrim played a large role in the success of the 2010 console cycle, but it had an even bigger impact on the PC landscape. Simply put, Skyrim is the king of mods, and has born an entire generation of modders that have created some truly fantastic experiences. 

To date, Skyrim has more than 56,000 downloads available on Nexus Mods. Yeah, a lot of them are nude mods, but between the total conversion mods and extremely clever gameplay tweaks, Skyrim can be an amazing game with the right modding.

The mod effect went well past Bethesda's fantasy baby this decade. Other open world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are getting a slew of mods, but everything from XCOM to the Resident Evil 2 remake are finding extra play time through some pretty genius mods.

While story took a back seat to open-world exploration in Skyrim, storytelling as a whole wasn't left in the dust in this early period of the decade. Plenty of games weren't afraid to go with more mature or unexpected themes, from the devastating opening of The Last Of Us to the mind-bending twist in Bioshock Infinite

Story rich or story lacking, open world or linear, the early part of the 10s was drowning in genre-defining games... but things would take a turn just a few years later. 

The Mid 2010s

         Telltale looking at Telltale and getting ready to pull the trigger       

Has a developer ever risen so quickly and then fallen so far as Telltale? The Wolf Among Us and the first season of The Walking Dead are still hallmarks of interactive storytelling, but sadly, the development team, under immense pressure, faced insurmountable hurdles.

A badly aging engine, lack of new ideas, and overspending on major franchises weighed the dev down by the time Game Of Thrones Season 1 ended. Sadly, things did not improve, and the company shuttered later in the decade. We never got to see the heights this style could have reached if material like Stranger Things, Hellraiser, or True Detective had been made available.

While the Telltale name is currently clawing back from the dead, it appears this new version of the company won't feature the same people (which may be a good thing) and will work on a much smaller scale. Will we ever get anything as compelling as Bigby's murder mystery or Clementine's journey to adulthood? Probably not, but at least we've still got our memories. 

       Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Another amazingly bittersweet moment arrived in April 2016 as the beloved Xbox 360 finally met its end. While Games With Gold is still offering up free titles each month and a handful of games are still hitting the platform, production on this console legend officially stopped. If you've still got a 360, be sure to keep hold of it -- because no more are being made! Microsoft managed to bring out the longest-running console cycle in gaming history, lasting more than 10 solid years. 

The next-gen got off to a rocky start not long before the 360 ceased production (remember the horror that was Assassin's Creed Unity?) but the decade's trend of disappointing trilogy conclusions with Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3 would come to a shattering and conclusive close with The Witcher 3.

Without question, The Witcher 3 put CD Projekt Red on the map and showed that an open-world RPG could be story-rich and offer more than just endless fetch quests and following map markers. Even more impressively, The Witcher 3 remains one of the very few titles to feature DLC that is easily as strong as the base game.

Considering the many amazing ladies of the series (oh, and Geralt too, I guess) just made the leap to a Netflix Original Series, it seems The Witcher franchise is going to live on for quite some time.

The same time period didn't just see the arrival of some truly great games it also saw a change in how games are developed and the ways in which developers interact with players.

Although the method had been around for some time, it was around the mid-2010s that Early Access started to become a vehicle for on-going development. 

Though Early Access has seen its fair share of hate and has been legitimately abused, it gave us titles as diverse and satisfying as Darkest Dungeon, Slime Rancher, and later, Subnautica. Early Access has shown that supporting developers along the way and allowing tweaks to be made from fan feedback can result in better-finished products.

      Should have called it Baldur's Wind Dale: Temple Of Elemental Torment.

Rising alongside Early Access, the crowd-funding revolution also emerged in the 2010s, giving us an amazing crop of old-school RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2

Fans wanted classic isometric games utilizing tactical real-time-with-pause or turn-based combat, but publishers just weren't willing to take the risk. They couldn't see that nostalgia equals money. Kickstarter and Indiegogo stepped in.

While Obsidian and InXile got snapped up by Microsoft in 2018 and it would seem are now cranking out some very off-brand console titles we still had a good number of years where fans had the final say on what would get released in those instances.

Kickstarter would later grow to feature revitalized classics such as Shenmue 3 and the Castlevania-adjacent Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Whether you asked for a refund and still think its a scam or are eagerly playing along, Star Citizen showed just how massive a crowd funding campaign can become. Somehow its still earning crowd funding revenue, having raked in more than $250 million from fans who know what they want and are willing to pay to get it.

Outside the realm of the typical gaming sphere, a surprising new genre would emerge and make a bigger impact than anyone suspected: absurdist games meant entirely for Let's Plays, reaction vids, and water-cooler talk.

"Classics" like Goat Simulator and Octodad: Dadliest Catch saw gamers re-thinking what truly makes a game great, while also laying the foundation for newer entries like Untitled Goose Game.

The Late 2010s

      Welcome back, Nintendo!

Breath Of The Wild was exactly what Nintendo needed to retake its position near the head of the pack. A major shift in gameplay towards an open-world style gave the Zelda franchise and the Switch a serious shot in the arm.

A brand new design for Nintendo's latest console didn't hurt either, as the combination of permanent home base console and mobile device re-captured the imaginations of gamers. While the controller and movement-based games like 1-2 Switch don't seem to have caught on, Nintendo is still very clearly back into position as console innovator. 

Another open-world game that defined this same period, but on the PlayStation 4, was Horizon Zero Dawn. The combination of old and new styles with a gripping mystery of humanity's past pushed forward by a fiery main character gave many players a reason to stick with the PS4. 

Considering the lauded Red Dead Redemption came out in 2010 and Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most highly anticipated titles of 2018, it's clear that the open-world trend has reigned supreme this decade.

One game refutes that claim, though, is Fortnite.

You might love to hate it, but you have to ask yourself: has any other title done more to bring gaming into the public consciousness? When Star Wars and Avengers hold in-game events in Fortnite, I think it's clear we've surpassed fandom boundaries and hit the big time.

The concept of Battle Royale has been around for quite awhile, and one could argue it hit its stride with PUBG not long after getting popular through the DayZ mod to Arma 2. That being said, it wasn't until Fortnite that the term became a household name and a genre giant in its own right. 

The resurgence of Battle Royale aside, Fortnite still plays a major role in live streaming, catapulting it to a previously unknown level of popularity with celebrity appearances and major eSports events. Fortnite managed to hit just about every platform imaginable, including mobile phones, and that's another area of gaming worth looking at that made a huge splash in the '10s.

      Not only is this peak 2010s, I'd argue it was also the
reason the internet was invented

Forget Angry Birds and Candy Crush, because there was an absolute explosion of mobile gaming covering every conceivable genre this decade. Aside from the clear cultural significance, Pokemon Go's launch started the AR craze meant to get gamers off the couch and out into the world of sunlight and exercise.

Even if you didn't care for the change in mechanics from the other monster-collecting titles, Pokemon Go was the gift that just kept on giving, from Pokemoan dildos (yep, they exist) to a Chuck Tingle erotica book, to a news cycle that kept bringing up new insanity every, single day.

While some games got smaller and more mobile, others got larger and more tethered VR broke into the mainstream. The PSVR brought true virtual reality to console gamers for a (sort of) affordable price for the first time.

Meanwhile, a number of dueling PC VR platforms are now pushing the boundaries and getting the tech where it needs to go. Vive and Oculus are currently duking it out, with the Oculus Quest now ditching wires and even the PC entirely for a more liberated experience. We haven't seen the best VR has to offer yet  that's for sure  but what's available today is already impressive.

If virtual worlds are less important to you than the interactions that occur within them, the late 2010s were a time when communities really started coming together through platforms like Twitch and Discord.

While the former popped up in 2011 and the latter in 2015, it hasn't been until recent years that they've really come into their own. Whether a mobile gacha title or a graphics-intensive PC shooter, pretty much every game worth playing has its own Discord community where players help each other out and forge new relationships.

New consoles, new tech, new ways of communicating, and new and returning franchises made this is a decade to remember in gaming history.

Looking Forward to 2020 and Beyond

That all about brings us to the present: 2019 was filled to the brim with major gaming news. Bungie parted with Activision but kept the Destiny series; Blizzard stepped in it with their poor handling of eSports players discussing Chinese democracy protests; and Xbox Game Studios snapped up Double Fine back in August.

On the release front, the tail end of the decade hasn't slouched with top-notch new games in a number of surprising genres. Disco Elysium came out of nowhere, and yeah, it deserves the hype. If you miss Planescape: Torment style text-heavy experiences, you want to play this one. The movie snippet experimentation with Telling Lies is also well worth experiencing and shows gaming can be just as interesting and story-rich as cinema. That's not to mention Netflix's Bandersnatch.

As the year ends, we're seeing more changes to the gaming landscape with monthly game services like Game Pass, PS Now, EA Access, and more coming into prominence. Even the mobile gaming crowd is getting in on the monthly subscription action with Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. If you want to try out a bunch of games for a low monthly price, there's never been a better time to explore what's available on console, PC, or mobile devices.

Of course, the obvious next step of this digital revolution was the advent of the all-streaming Stadia and XCloud. The effect of those changes is still anyone's guess, but it sure looks like we're barreling towards a digital future with a Netflix style library of games.

As Google and all-streaming services come into the spotlight, the console wars still raged between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The PS4 managed to become the fourth best selling console of all time this gen, and some killer exclusives likely played a big role there. How the PS5 and Xbox Series X stack up against each other still remains to be seen.

Far more happened in this decade than we ever could have covered in one article, and I'm sure you'll be happy to tell me which games and events I missed that made this the best 10 years in gaming history.

For now, it's time to look toward the future, as next-gen consoles are well into development and are expected to arrive next holiday season. Major titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Baldur's Gate 3, and The Last Of Us 2 are mere months away, and we can't wait to see what the next 10 years have in store! 

What were your favorite video game moments from 2010-2019, and do you agree that it was the best decade in gaming history? Sound off in the comments below!

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GameSkinny's Best Games of 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/td48x/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/td48x/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2019 Tue, 31 Dec 2019 16:47:58 -0500 GS_Staff

Some truly amazing games came out in 2019. From monolithic AAAs like Gears 5 and Pokemon Sword and Shield to unassuming indies like Wattam and Disco Elysium, the last year of the decade hasn't left us wanting.

To celebrate the year that was, we've collected our highest-reviewed games of 2019 into a pseudo "best of" list. We're a small staff at GameSkinny, so going the traditional "staff voting route" didn't really make a whole lot of sense. The most democratic way to make a list like this was to include any game with a score of "8" or higher. 

Such a rubric might not be perfect as it leaves out some of the year's tentpole titles like Modern Warfare and Death Stranding, but a list like this is never perfect. It will always create some form of controversy. 

So without further ado, here is GameSkinny's "Best Games of 2019" list. We have arranged the following games in alphabetical order. Be sure to sound off in the comments at the end of the article. We're certain you will have thoughts — and we want to hear them! 

A Place for the Unwilling

Publisher: ALPixel Games
Developer: ALPixel Games
Initial Release Date: July 25, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: A Place for the Unwilling offers a delightfully sinister tale of mystery and destruction with a staggering number of branching paths that guarantee no playthrough will be the same.

Read the review

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Initial Release Date: January 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The VR Mode is the big draw of Bandai Namco's new flight combat simulator, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, but it is more limited than you might have hoped.

Read the review

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Triumph Studios
Initial Release Date: August 6, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The turn-based strategy game of the year has arrived, and the unexpected transition from fantasy to sci-fi is handled superbly.

Read the review

Ape Out

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developers: Bennett Foddy, Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch
Initial Release Date: February 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: There's a lot to love about Ape Out and not many glaring flaws to point to... It may be a simple game with basic controls, but that doesn't mean it doesn't still provide a challenge that rewards sound, strategic play. 

Read the review

Astral Chain

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Platinum Games
Initial Release Date: August 30, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Astral Chain presents an experience that might be familiar to those familiar with Platinum Games, but there's enough to keep you engaged and excited... But even if you're just looking for a new, fairly linear story to dive into, or dying to get your hands on a game whose combat actually involves new ideas and executes them well, then this is the game for you.

Read the review

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: May 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: It's more of the same Atelier, but it also takes the best from its predecessors to synthesize a fun and customizable adventure. It might not be a huge leap forward for the series, but it combines the best elements from previous Atelier games to make this new entry a contender for best of the crop and an excellent starting point for newbies.

Read the review

Atelier Ryza Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: September 26, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Atelier Ryza is the best Atelier game to date, with some much-needed improvements that make for a more compelling package on the whole.

Read the review

Blasphemous

Publisher: Team 17
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Initial Release Date: September 10, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: If you love SNES platformers and aren't concerned by the possibility of an angry god pressing its "smite" button to rain lightning upon you, Blasphemous is simply a must-play.

Read the review

Blazing Chrome

Publisher: The Arcade Crew, Limited Run Games
Developer: JoyMasher
Initial Release Date: July 11, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Rad and totally kickass, Blazing Chrome stands as one of the best run n' gun games of all time. A worthy successor to the Contra crown from concept to execution.

Read the review

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Artplay
Initial Release Date: June 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night stands as one of the best Vania games of recent memory, and one of the most satisfying games of 2019 so far.

Read the review

Borderlands 3

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Initial Release Date: September 13, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Borderlands 3 is the best Borderlands has ever been. It's beautiful, funny, and frantic in the best ways. There are issues, but those shouldn't deter you too much from having an absolute blast.

Read the review

Cadence of Hyrule

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Initial Release Date: June 13, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Cadence of Hyrule is a fresh approach to the classic 2D Legend titles that looks and sounds amazing, but it doesn't last long.

Read the review

Cardpocalypse

Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: Gambrinous
Initial Release Date: December 6, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Cute graphics, funny writing, and good gameplay make Cardpocalypse a rousing good time.

Read the review

Children of Morta

Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
Developer: Dead Mage Studios
Initial Release Date: September 3, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Children of Morta is a standout roguelike RPG with a solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style all piled on top of huge replay value.

Read the review

Code Vein

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Initial Release Date: June 5, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Code Vein is an anime souls-like featuring great customization and a wonderfully bizarre world.

Read the review

Control

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Initial Release Date: August 27, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Control is undoubtedly Remedy's biggest and weirdest game yet. In many ways, it's also their best, all while it paves the way for a Marvel-like connected universe.

Read the review

Cooking Simulator

Publisher: PlayWay
Developers: Big Cheese Studio, Wastelands Interactive
Initial Release Date: June 6, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The simple fact that Cooking Simulator does what it says on the label makes it a must-have for anyone who loves cooking as much as they love gaming.

Read the review

Dark Devotion

Publisher: The Arcade Crew, DotEmu, Maple Whispering Co.
Developer: Hibernian Workshop
Initial Release Date: April 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Get ready to die with another killer 2D souls-like that flips the script in several ways for a refreshing take on the genre.

Read the review

Devil May Cry 5

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Initial Release Date: March 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Devil May Cry 5 is back, bringing with it the same hack-and-slash action that made it one of the best action franchises of all time.

Read the review

Dick Wilde 2

Publisher: PlayStack
Developer: Bolverk Games
Initial Release Date: February 19, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: With humor, stylish visuals, and solid shooting mechanics, Bolverk Games' Dick Wilde 2 is a great little VR diversion for those that dig on-rails shooters.

Read the review.

Disco Elysium

Publisher: ZA/UM
Developer: ZA/UM
Initial Release Date: October 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Looking for something even weirder than Torment and with even more character customization options? Disco Elysium is RPG of the year. Hell, maybe even the decade.

Read the review.

Doraemon: Story of Seasons

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developers: Marvelous Inc., Brownies Inc.
Initial Release Date: October 10, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Doraemon: Story of Seasons borrows from both franchises while managing to be a stand-out farm-sim game in its own right.

Read the review.

Dragon Star Varnir

Publisher: Idea Factory
Developer: Compile Heart
Initial Release Date: June 11, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dragon Star Varnir could use some polishing in a few areas, but the combat, setting, and story make for a dark and compelling RPG nonetheless.

Read the review.

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Publisher: Square-Enix
Developers: Square-Enix, Omega Force
Initial Release Date: July 12, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dragon Quest Builders 2 takes just about everything that made the original so enjoyable and improves upon it.

Read the review.

Etrian Odyssey Nexus

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Initial Release Date: February 5, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Etrian Odyssey Nexus is an excellent way to end the franchise's time on the 3DS, beckoning old and new fans alike back into the labyrinth.

Read the review.

Far Cry New Dawn

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Initial Release Date: February 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Far Cry New Dawn recycles the same general setting from last year's Far Cry 5, but this time with a post-apocalyptic twist and healthy injection of creative, colorful, and bombastic content.

Read the review.

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark

Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Developer: 6 eyes Studio
Initial Release Date: August 16, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is a deep and engrossing tactical RPG no genre fan should miss. With interesting characters and complex combat, it's a poster child for the greatest the genre can provide.

Read the review

FIFA 20

Publisher: EA Games
Developers: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Initial Release Date: September 27, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: For fun and realistic gameplay, FIFA 20 can't be beat, though the specter of card packs looms large over the game's Ultimate Team mode.

Read the review

Figment

Publisher: Bedtime Digital Games
Developer: Bedtime Digital Games
Initial Release Date: September 22, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Figment turns a touchy topic into an engaging puzzle adventure that's filled with heart and some excellent setting and soundtrack designs.

Read the review

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Publisher: Nintendo
Developers: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo
Initial Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the definitive Fire Emblem experience, with a compelling story, streamlined gameplay, and a staggering amount of content.

Read the review

Gears 5

Publisher: Xbox Game Studio
Developer: The Coalition
Initial Release Date: September 10, 2019
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The Coalition has set a new benchmark for Microsoft's first-party campaigns. By taking huge risks, subverting expectations, and delivering a visual spectacle, Gears 5 is the best in the series.

Read the review

God's Trigger

Publisher: Techland
Developer: One More Level
Initial Release Date: April 18, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Heaven's under new management. It takes a little while to come into its own, but God’s Trigger is a decent weekend’s worth of splatterpunk entertainment.

Read the review

Gorn

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer:
Free Lives
Initial Release Date: August 24, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Gorn is challenging, horrifying, hilarious, and a genuine joy to play. It manages to be brilliant in both short bursts and long sessions.

Read the review

Heroland

Publisher: XSeed Games, FuRyu, Marvelous Inc.
Developer: FuRyu, Netchubiyori Limited
Initial Release Date: December 3, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Heroland offers a hilarious take on working life, RPGs, and fan culture, wrapped in a clever combat system.

Read the review.

Indivisible

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Lab Zero Games
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Indivisible brings its own mix of genres, packed with the best group of characters in years.

Read the review.

Ion Fury

Publisher: 3D Realms, 1C Company
Developers: Voidpoint LLC
Initial Release Date: February 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ion Fury mixes old and new in a throwback FPS that deftly builds its own enduring identity.

Read the review.

John Wick Hex

Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Developer:
Bithell Games
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: John Wick Hex puts you in the well-trained shoes of a master assassin, but without a lot of planning, you'll find yourself no more use than a kid with a water pistol.

Read the review.

Judgment

Publisher: Sega
Developers: Sega, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Initial Release Date: June 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Though there are some hiccups along the way, Judgment proves without a doubt that Ryu Ga Gotoku studio doesn't need Kazuma Kiryu to sell a great game.

Read the review.

Katana Zero

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Askiisoft
Initial Release Date: April 18, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: If I have one complaint about Katana ZERO, it's that there's not already a sequel.

Read the review.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Square-Enix
Initial Release Date: January 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Kingdom Hearts 3 delivers an amazingly fun and intense experience in a long-awaited title that lives up to the hype.

Read the review.

Luigi's Mansion 3

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games
Initial Release Date: October 31, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Luigi's Mansion 3 is almost non-stop fun and is another must-have for the Switch's library.

Read the review.

Madden NFL 20

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon
Initial Release Date: August 2, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Madden NFL 20's major new features are good on their own, but they are even better as a foundation for the years to come.

Read the review.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Team Ninja
Initial Release Date: July 19, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a more-than-solid release that will interest most Switch owners. While some fans of the original games might have gripes, it's still likely to be a solid choice.

Read the review.

Metro Exodus

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Initial Release Date: February 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Metro Exodus, 4A's new first-person shooter, is almost a perfect game, introducing exciting new elements while still offering the classic Metro experience.

Read the review.

Mini-Mech Mayhem

Publisher: FuturLab
Developer: FuturLab
Initial Release Date: June 18, 2019
Platforms (VR): PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: If you want a new, randomized strategy title for the PSVR that you can sink dozens of hours into, Mini-Mech Mayhem should be on your wishlist immediately.

Read the review.

MLB The Show 19

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE San Diego Studio
Initial Release Date: March 26, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Show is back with the latest, but just barely the greatest addition to the world of baseball video games.

Read the review.

Mortal Kombat 11

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Initial Release Date: April 23, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Almost three decades since the original, Mortal Kombat 11 proves the fighter's might is still strong.

Read the review.

Need for Speed: Heat

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ghost Games
initial Release Date: November 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though it still can't match the scope of Forza Horizon 4, Need for Speed: Heat is a great racing game in its own right.

Read the review.

NHL 20

Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Vancouver
Initial Release Date: September 13, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: NHL 20 delivers an enjoyable simulation of the NHL experience, with new modes and features adding additional fun to the strong framework provided by prior years' releases.

Read the review.

Night Call

Publisher: Raw Fury, MonkeyMoon
Developers: BlackMuffin, MonkeyMoon
Initial Release Date: July 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Night Call is an intriguing ride through Paris full of intriguing tales and conversations. Too bad its detective elements aren't as compelling.

Read the review.

One Finger Death Punch 2

Publisher: Silver Dollar Games
Developer: Silver Dollar Games
Initial Release Date: April 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: One Finger Death Punch 2 is a deep, rhythmic fighting game that attempts to replicate the feel of classic kung fu movies.

Read the review.

Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: P-Studio
Initial Release Date: June 4, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: New Cinema Labyrinth is a brilliant combination of game mechanics with a heap of Persona charm and style that's sure to keep you busy for a long time to come.

Read the review.

Planet Zoo

Publisher: Frontier Developments
Developer: Frontier Developments
Initial Release Date: November 5, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Planet Zoo is a deep management sim featuring some beautiful animal recreations. It's a must-have for any animal lover.

Read the review.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak 
Initial Release Date: November 15, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Pokemon Sword and Shield breathe a joyous breath of life back into the series, with great improvements and a stellar batch of new 'mon.

Read the review.

RAD

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Double Fine
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: RAD is a fantastic roguelike that creates a world worth fighting for and a game well worth playing over and over again.

Read the review.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Publisher: Double Damage Games
Developer: Double Damage Games
Initial Release Date: October 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Despite a few stumbles, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is one of the best space sims of recent memory, with strong characters, fast-paced combat, and amazing music.

Read the review.

Remnant: From the Ashes

Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Developer: Gunfire Games
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Remnant: From the Ashes is a tough-as-nails cooperative shooter that brings together the best elements of games like Dark Souls and Left 4 Dead.

Read the review.

Ring Fit Adventure

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo 
Initial Release Date: October 18, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ring Fit Adventure may be the best exercise video game, blending strength and aerobics training into an impeccably designed package.

Read the review.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Publisher: From Software, Activision
Developer: From Software
Initial Release Date: March 22, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is probably the best game From Software has ever made, and it's worth every second of your time playing.

Read the review.

Shenmue 3

Publisher: Deep Silver, Shibuya Productions
Developers: Ys Net, Yu Suzuki
Initial Release Date: November 19, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: For better or worse, Shenmue 3 is a blast from the past. It's a beautiful world marred only by its insistence to stay the same.

Read the review.

Sparklite

Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: Red Blue Games
Initial Release Date: November 14, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Sparklite is a good example of how creativity and sharp game design can elevate a genre even if you thought you'd seen everything it has to offer.

Read the review.

Spinnortality

Publisher: James Patton
Developer: James Patton
Initial Release Date: February 1, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Spinnortality is tightly focused on the bleak but shiny transhumanist megacorp side of cyberpunk, putting it in unique territory.

Read the review.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Initial Release Date: November 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has some technical issues and poor pacing but is still an amazing single-player Star Wars game.

Read the review.

Steel Division 2

Publisher: Eugen Systems
Developer: Eugen Systems
Initial Release Date: June 20, 2019
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Steel Division 2 proves to be a much better game than its predecessor in terms of graphics and mechanics, even if it still needs to solve a few balancing problems before it can be called "definitive."

Read the review.

Stranded Sails

Publisher: Maple Whispering Co
Developer: Lemonbomb Entertainment
Initial Release Date: October 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though it's a bit more survival-focused than other games of its kind, Stranded Sails is still a mostly quaint and worthwhile farm life sim any genre fan will enjoy.

Read the review.

Stranger Things 3: The Game

Publisher: BonusXP
Developer: BonusXP
Initial Release Date: July 4, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Android
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Stranger Things 3 has taken over the pop culture world like it always does when a new season hits Netflix. If you've binged it already and need more, the console game is a fun adaptation worth any fan's time.

Read the review.

Super Mario Maker 2

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Initial Release Date: June 28, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Super Mario Maker 2 fulfills just about everything it set out to do, making it a must-play for Mario fans.

Read the review.

Team Sonic Racing

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sumo Digital
Initial Release Date: May 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Team Sonic Racing is closer to a 3D Sonic game to a kart racer, and we love it. Sonic Heroes Racing, anyone?

Read the review.

The Blackout Club

Publisher: Question
Developer: Question
Initial Release Date: July 29, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Stranger things have happened, but they're rarely as scary or as fun as The Blackout Club, a dynamic co-op adventure that beckons with its bellowing song of hypnosis.

Read the review.

The Church in the Darkness

Publisher: Fellow Traveler
Developer: Paranoid Productions
Initial Release Date: August 2, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Church in the Darkness is an ambitious game and delivers on its premise almost all the way. It's worth sipping this Kool-Aid.

Read the review.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3

Publisher: NISA
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Initial Release Date: October 22, 2019
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Trails of Cold Steel 3 is a masterclass in storytelling that improves nearly everything in the franchise's history.

Read the review.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Publisher: Nintendo
Developers: Grezzo
Initial Release Date: September 20, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With a host of enhancements that more than make it worth playing for newcomers and old fans alike, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remains a brilliant example of impeccable design.

Read the review.

The Outer Worlds

Publisher: Private Division, Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Initial Release Date: October 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Outer Worlds is a goofy, full to the brim RPG that liberally samples from other giants in the genre. It's a fun romp through a neon universe.

Read the review.

The Sinking City

Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Developer: Frogwares
Initial Release Date: June 25, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With a distinct lack of hand-holding, in-depth investigative mechanics, and a solid mix of open-world design with mythos monsters, The Sinking City is the standard for Lovecraftian games.

Read the review.

The Sojourn

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Shifting Tides
Initial Release Date: September 20, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The Sojourn elevates simple mechanics and creative level design to create a thoroughly enjoyable puzzling experience and a game any fan of the genre should play.

Read the review.

The Surge 2

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Deck 13
Initial Release Date: September 24, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With more options, more weapons, and a much bigger environment to play with, The Surge 2 improves on everything from its predecessor.

Read the review.

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove

Publisher: HumaNature Studios
Developer: HumaNature Studios
Initial Release Date: March 1, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove isn't a blast FROM the past, it's a blast TO the past.

Read the review.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developers: Massive Entertainment
Initial Release Date: March 15, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Division 2 is an improvement on the first game in almost every way, and it's both a fun game and a satisfying investment.

Read the review.

Trine 4

Publisher: Modus Games
Developer: Frozenbyte
Initial Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The puzzles and banter are as good as they've ever been, though Trine 4 has a hard time overcoming some dodgy combat mechanics.

Read the review.

Trover Saves the Universe

Publisher: Squanch Games
Developer: Squanch Games
Initial Release Date: May 31, 2019
Platforms: PS4 (VR), Xbox One, PC (VR), Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: A surprisingly entertaining platformer smothered in Roiland-brand humor. Trover Save the Universe is a title well worth playing whether you have a VR headset or not.

Read the review.

Truberbrook

Publisher: Headup Games
Developers: btf GmBH
Initial Release Date: March 12, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Truberbrook has a few faults, but its engaging characters, enjoyable narrative, and fantastic atmosphere make it easy to recommend.

Read the review.

Vambrace Cold Soul

Publisher: Headup Games
Developer: Devespresso Games
Initial Release Date: May 28, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: If you don't mind being actively abused and tortured for hours on end, Vambrace can become extremely addicting for fans of either Darkest Dungeon or classic SNES RPGs.

Read the review.

Void Bastards

Publisher: Humble Bundle
Developer: Blu Manchu
Initial Release Date: May 28, 2019
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Void Bastards is a roguelite shooter that encourages experimentation and smart thinking in outer space, and it mostly works to great effect.

Read the review.

Wattam

Publisher: Annapurna
Developer: Funomena, SIE Santa Monica Studio
Initial Release Date: December 17, 2019
Platforms: PS4, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Wattam is a rare wonder of a game, full of hope, charm, and poop. But it's also one of the kindest games to come out all year.

Read the review.

We. The Revolution

Publisher: Klabater
Developer: Polyash
Initial Release Date: March 21, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: All told, We. The Revolution comes together to make a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Read the review.

What the Golf? 

Publisher: Triband
Developer: Triband
Initial Release Date: October 1, 2019
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: What the Golf? is a funny hole-in-one success of a game that keeps surprising and captivating with unfiltered creativity.

Read the review.

Witcheye

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Moon Kid
Initial Release Date: August 15, 2019
Platforms: Android, iOS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Witcheye is the most fun you can have as a floating eye in a mobile game.

Read the review.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: good-Feel
Initial Release Date: March 29, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Don't let the green dino's mid-tier status fool you. With fluid platforming, incredible attention to detail, and a huge variety of content, Yoshi's Crafted World is a must-have Switch game.

Read the review.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Other Ocean Interactive
Initial Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is the most complete Yu-Gi-Oh! title to date, with a great price tag for its infinitely replayable content.

Read the review.

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That's it for our list of the best games of 2019. What were your favorite games? Sound off in the comments below. 

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Disco Elysium Review: Torment for a Nihilistic Generation https://www.gameskinny.com/7ne7q/disco-elysium-review-torment-for-a-nihilistic-generation https://www.gameskinny.com/7ne7q/disco-elysium-review-torment-for-a-nihilistic-generation Thu, 31 Oct 2019 17:38:52 -0400 Ty Arthur

Recently, there's been a torrent of good RPG titles hitting consoles and PC, with Greedfall, Stygian, The Outer Worlds, and the remastered Final Fantasy VIII all scratching slightly different role-playing itches. Now that we are nearly at year's end, it's time to add one more (very unexpected) entry to the pile  and then promptly move it up straight to the top.

If you somehow haven't seen the deluge of glowing comments inundating social media and glut of stellar reviews cropping up on other industry pubs, just take a look at where avant-garde RPG Disco Elysium is currently sitting on Steam. It has 94% positive reviews as of this writing. 94. Percent. 

How often does that ever happen? And more pointedly, when does that type of reception throw itself upon a game from a totally unknown developer? Skyrocketing from obscure indie gem to belle of the RPG ball, Disco Elysium deserves every ounce of hype — and then a little bit more.

Disco Elysium Review: Torment for a Nihilistic Generation

 I mean, who HASN'T woken up like this a time or two?

Much like with that other lauded bizzaro and text-heavy RPG, Planescape: Torment, Disco Elysium kicks off with the main character waking up a total blank slate. You have to learn about the game world as you go, rising from a mind-erasing bender that has you unclear of the particulars regarding absolutely everything.

Before long, people start insisting you are a cop investigating a murder, even though you don't have a badge or a gun (or even pants). From that disorienting opening, the game's distinctive style immediately hits as you begin searching your fleabag hotel room. I won't spoil it but simply put: Disco Elysium is wonderfully weird. Very, very weird. 

In a nod to an old joke about unforgiving tabletop games from the '80s and '90s, where you could literally die during character creation, your down-on-his-luck detective can overexert himself and expire within a minute of starting the game. Yep, you can have a heart attack reaching up for a tie attached to a ceiling fan. Time to make an Endurance roll and... turns out you shouldn't have stayed up all night drinking and snorting coke for the last 30 years straight. Whoops, time to try again.

However, the deaths only begin there. In my first playthrough, I died twice by giving into the pointless absurdity of existence and just flat out, killing myself in the middle of interrogations. 

In case it wasn't clear, Disco Elysium is extraordinarily dark and nihilistic, but often still laugh-out-loud funny. Its humor pops up in wildly unexpected places, often arriving as a result of failing skill checks, which means less reason to engage in save scumming. Let's just say that things don't always go as planned when getting a hanged, week-long rotting body down from a tree when you are wildly hungover, not wearing any pants and a genuinely terrible shot.

Themes of existential absurdity are constantly front and center as you interact with people and objects. You can literally get in a fight with a mail delivery box, or try to give hard drugs to 12-year-old kids. Things get more bizarre from there.

Unlike many other RPGs, Disco Elysium very pointedly remarks on your choices, often long after you'd forgotten about running around with only one shoe because you couldn't be arsed to find its companion. 

While some of the most memorable characters during these interactions are your actual skills — which exist as free-floating thoughts you can listen to or argue with — the game doesn't skimp on well-written NPCs, many of whom most decidedly do not want your "help" in any way.

A personal favorite of mine is the foul-mouthed little kid Cuno, who may or may not be the incarnation of some sort of insane demigod. Cuno is a bit like nuclear war: the only way to win his game is to simply not play at all, but where is the fun in that? I've never had such a good time watching a main character just get his ass absolutely handed to him by a child while spectacularly failing at everything before.

Remember how InXile's Torment: Tides Of Numenera sort of flirted with the idea of having failed checks become as meaningful and memorable as successful ones but didn't really nail the execution all the way through? Disco Elysium actually delivers on that idea.

Character Builds and Replay

Speaking of skills, they are all sufficiently weird and perfectly match the nuts setting. Don't expect something as mundane as "Strength" or "One-Handed Melee" here. Instead, you'll be dealing with skills like "Shivers," "Savoir Faire," "Inland Empire," "Volition," "Rhetoric," and "Visual Calculus."

They all get a ton of use as well, which, frankly, is one of the biggest selling points of Disco Elysium. From Shadowrun Returns to Pillars Of Eternity and even open-world games like Fallout, there's always that nagging worry that any one particular skill might not get used enough to be worth taking or upgrading.

Yeah, that's not a concern here in any way. Literally, every interaction in the game is handled through a skill check in the dialog screen.

Now you might be thinking, Wait a minute, hold up: you mean there's no combat?" No, not of the traditional sort you might expect based on the game's Infinity Engine influence. You won't pause to issue orders or frantically click to swing a club around, for instance. There are some situations resolved through fisticuffs or gunplay, but it's all done via skill check.

While that might seem like a detriment, it actually results in a very positive change that RPG fans will love. To understand why this works so well, think about how any given quest usually goes down in an Obsidian or Bioware RPG. Whether you sneak by without a fight, go in guns blazing, hack computer terminals, or use dialog skills, you can always pretty much expect to discover the same basic info and make your way from point A to point B in any mission of The Outer Worlds for instance.

That is very much not the case with Disco Elysium, where you can miss large swathes of dialog or come across information in radically different ways. Since game time moves forward whenever you engage in dialog, who you talk to and where you go completely changes your playthrough because there isn't enough time to take every quest line in one go.

This is a game that demands you play it more than once with different character types, skill load-outs, and options taken.

Aside from the skills you pick and level up throughout the game, you can further tinker with your character by internalizing a variety of wide-ranging concepts.

After a set amount of real-world time, thoughts are properly embedded in your consciousness; all of them offer some stat boosts. Like everything else, you can't find all these internalized concepts in one go, and many can be missed if you screw up various checks or don't follow the right conversation paths.

These concepts range from high-minded and esoteric to extremely crude, but they all offer some hilarious insight into the game's universe and your detective's thought processes.

You will find yourself internalizing concepts from the Volumetric Shit Compressor (because, you know, you need your shit to be together and not apart if you want to solve a murder) to deciding you are going to seize the means of production and start a communist revolution (which oddly doesn't go over well with most people while you're interrogating them).

Disco Elysium Review — The Bottom Line

Pros:
  • Interesting, entertaining, and hilarious game world with fully realized factions and characters
  • Unique art style and overall mood
  • Tons of replay value married to a game system that actively discourages save scumming
  • Basically everything a fan of text-heavy RPGs could ever want
Cons
  • Despite a strong Infinity Engine inspiration, there's no actual combat here
  • Lacks the large cast of party companions you might expect from an RPG

While the lack of either turn-based or real-time-with-pause combat might lead you to believe Disco Elysium is more of a point and click adventure game than an RPG, this is most assuredly an RPG first and foremost.

Comparisons to Planescape: Torment (minus the combat) are an obvious starting point. But frankly, Disco Elysium is somehow even weirder. It really plays with the whole "updated my journal" mechanic in ways even Torment didn't think to, creating a consistently surprising and humorous experience.

All that oddity and introspection pairs well with a massive amount of player choice that lets you take any approach you want. Whether it's fascist hard-ass misogynist or fervent (but very, very drunk) feminist, communist revolutionary, capitalist bootlicker, or missionary of the approaching end times, the myriad options at your fingertips are breathtaking.

Do you want to play it straight, never touching another drop so you can focus and get on track, or do you want to lick up spilled booze and immediately start looking for a speed hookup? Are you the cop of the apocalypse, heralding the end of everything, or are you a secret superstar who just happened to accidentally put himself in an investigation after a night of hard-drinking?

It's all up to you. One thing's for sure, though, I intend to try every single option over multiple playthroughs no matter how many hours it takes. I can't think of any other RPG in recent memory that managed to provoke the same level of awe and desire to keep playing.

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